Tensions in the South China Sea, including the recent presence of large Chinese vessels at Whitsun Reef, endanger peace and stability in the region.
The EU is committed to secure, free and open maritime supply routes in the Indo-Pacific, in full compliance with international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in the interest of all.
The EU reiterates its strong opposition to any unilateral actions that could undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order. We urge all parties to resolve disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law, in particular UNCLOS, including its dispute settlement mechanisms. The EU recalls in this regard the Arbitration Award rendered under UNCLOS on 12 July 2016.
The EU supports the ASEAN-led process towards an effective, substantive and legally binding Code of Conduct, which should not prejudice the interests of third parties. The EU urges all parties to pursue sincere efforts towards its finalisation.